I'm an employed, self-taught application developer. Although I love development, I'm fairly bored. To offset this (and because I love to learn), I study advanced mathematics, physics, engineering and advanced topics in computer science, among other things. I'm grateful for the good job I have, it pays the bills and feeds my family, but I want to do more.
I'm very interested in the aerospace industry, but lack an engineering or computer science degree. I would like to develop software that aids in the design of aircraft, or software that contributes to the functionality or operation of an aircraft. I feel like I can hold my own during discussions of these topics, and also feel like I possess enough knowledge at this point to make a foray into the field.
I had a troubled youth. I'm married now with children, and have settled down, but I'm still fairly young. Again, I'm grateful to have a solid job where I can do what I love and get paid well, but I feel like the stupid decisions that I made during my youth, combined with my decision to actually learn computer programming instead of going to college have really smoked me, as far as career opportunities go.
Recently, I've been working on a jet engine design suite and test simulator using Haskell. Maybe if I finish this, I can show it to someone and get a job despite my lack of degree and troubled past? I can't unrealistically assume it would be worth much to a giant like Lockheed, but maybe they will think it is cool or something.
Is there anyone out there that can relate, and if so, were you able to miraculously able to finagle a way into this field, or another advanced field?
What can I do to make it in this industry? Do I need to enroll in college, or is there some sort of hack I can employ?
Are you an aerospace software engineer? What is this field like in reality? Need an intern?